OXFORD BIG SOFTY WASH BRUSH
The Oxford Big Softy Brush is a generic, soft-bristled brush designed with motorcycles, boats and other vehicles, aside from bicycles in mind. No bad thing in many respects. However, despite the wallet friendly price tag, there are better options if you’re playing team mechanic, or keep a two-wheeled, mixed genre harem.
The huge bristle plot of the Oxford Big Softy is designed for speedy, broad strokes, without scratching delicate finishes. A rubberised bumper strip runs around the perimeter and ticks another, finish-friendly box. In common with their triple bike brush set, the handle is perfect for this kind of work, while still permitting easy sweeping around fork crowns and similar grot spots. It also sits comfortably in the palm for long periods and dimpling theoretically improves grip. A handy loop means it can be hung out to dry when you’re done, or for tidy parking on the tool board.
Use and performance
Cleaning and inspection are key parts of maintenance. Particularly important before a big service, following a muddy ride, or just keeping winter’s slimy cocktail from wreaking caustic havoc.
Whipping out the wheels affords much easier access, helps avoid cross contamination and time spent removing them, is quickly recouped later on. Sudsy and rinse water buckets at the ready, there’s no waiting for bristles to soften. Road typical dirt and dust - including that from the brakes pretty much vanishes effortlessly and upon contact.
Clay soil and similarly mucky stuff requires more concerted effort, even with more powerful bike shampoos, such as Crankalicious Mud Honey. Tight spaces, including fork crowns and suspension components required a smaller, detailer type brush, but in this respect, the Oxford is no more limited than others, including the Pedros.
As you’d hope, it’s totally impotent on rings and other soiled drivetrain, so give these a liberal tickling with the triple set first, then use the water laden Big Softy around the frame to flush gritty, grotty stuff away.
In the event of the bristles cultivating an oily colic, give them a shot of degreaser. Work it in, on a clean, concrete surface, then rinse thoroughly with warm water. Frankly, we’d recommend this practice for any brush, before hanging them back on the tool board.
Michael is very particular, especially where paintwork is concerned and a stickler for surface specific brushes. That said, Green Oil’s Eco Brush is more effective on rims, particularly the rear, where droplets of lube can attract other hard-to-shift contaminant.
Comparing the two is slightly unfair, given the Big Softy is designed for very gentle, large area stuff. However, used carefully, and well soaked, the Eco brush’s stiffer bristle plot makes short work of caked on stuff. Ditto cassettes, chains and jockey wheels. Indeed, some riders may find the Eco brush and a jumbo car sponge perfect starting points.
Oxford’s Big Softy does exactly what it promises to and is competitively priced. Winter may say different, but to date, there have been no major problems with bristle moult, or splaying. For moderate, home workshop use and light, to moderately soiled, road biased framesets, there’s a lot to like here.
Verdict 3.5/5 Sensibly priced, gentle brush for sweeping paintwork and other delicate areas.
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2017